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permanent * portraits 


These aim at being not only Portraits, but also 
Pictures, which show you engaged in your favourite sport 
by the side of some pool, or knee deep in some shallow 
of your own particular river, the sight of which in after 
years will bring back to your memory many pleasant 
reminiscences of bygone success. 

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No. 1. Length 6in., gape of hook 2in. : price 4s. 
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"This unpretentious, yet well written, work contains a large 
amount of information, which may be read with advantage by 
all followers of the more refined branch of the gentle art." 


" Like Piscator's humble friend, the chub, it is 'a good dish 
of meat,' and excellent for entering a young angler. Mr. Tayler's 
views as to tackle are generally sound and practical. On the 
subject of flies he gives excellent advice. We can safely recom- 
mend it as a useful manual for any young aspirant to Fly- 
Fishing honours." 


"The author, in its pages, gives the result of many years' 
practical experience of Fly-Fishing, and evidently is no tyro. 
His work, therefore, will afford much useful information to 
those who are in need of it." 


"This capitally written essay on the whole art of Fly-Fishing 
is from the pen of Mr. James Tayler, who is recognised through- 
out the kingdom as an authority in the sport on which he gives 
such excellent instruction." 




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I dedicate this little book to you, knowing 
that you have proved yourself to be one of the 
most skilful anglers of the present day; while 
all anglers who have the pleasure of your 
acquaintance know you to be a most genial 
and intelligent member of the craft, always ready 
to promote its interest, and to communicate the 
result of your great researches and experience 
to your fellow-fishermen. 

Yours faithfully and respectfully, 


To J. BRUNTON, ESQ., M.A., M.D. 





HAVING read papers on Fly-fishing before the 
Gresham and Islington Angling Societies, 
and contributed occasional articles to the fishing 
periodicals, I have been persuaded by some of the 
members of those societies to publish my ideas on 
the subject, and I now submit them to the public, 
premising that the following treatise is neither 
historic nor scientific, but simply an endeavour to 
communicate what nearly fifty years of practice and 
careful observation have taught me to consider as 
correct principles in a concise and practical form. 
Trusting that it will be received as such, and will be of 
some assistance to young anglers in cultivating that, 
which, we are assured by the highest authority on 
angling, is " an art worth learning." 

In preparing this short treatise I have assumed, 
what is generally admitted by fishermen, that catching 
trout with an artificial fly is the highest branch of 
the piscatorial art ; for, although some bottom-fishers 
and spinners claim that as much skill is required in 
their branch as is in fly-fishing, yet I think the 
palm must be yielded to the fly-fisher. It differs in 
many respect from all other kinds. The greatest care 

must be taken not to scare the fish, either by the sight 
of the angler or his shadow, or by awkwardness in 
managing the rod, line, and flies. You have only to 
watch a fly-fisher and a bottom-fisher a short time 
to decide where the greatest skill is required and 

I recollect, when a very little boy, having a book > 
in which there was a coloured print of a trout, and 
underneath were these lines 

" Angler, mind well what you're about, 
If you would catch the cunning trout," 

and I suppose I must have profited by the advice, 
for in an old diary, kept by me in 1839, there is a 
record of my having caught four trout weighing 
7ilbs. when I was thirteen years of age. But those 
were not caught with a fly. 

The late Mr. Francis Francis, than whom there is 
no higher authority, says in one of his books, " There 
is far greater skill, caution, patience, and cunning 
required to delude a brook trout than is thought of 
in landing the noblest twenty-pound salmon that 
ever sailed up Tweed or Tay." And in further proof 
of this I will give an extract from that excellent little 
book, " Stewart's Practical Angler." The author says : 
" Everything combines to render- fly-fishing the 
most attractive of all branches of the angler's art. 
The attempt to capture trout, which are seen to 
rise at natural flies, is in itself an excitement which 
no other method possesses. Then the smallness of 
the hook and the fineness of the tackle necessary for 
success increases the danger of escape, and conse- 
quently the excitement and the pleasure of the 
capture ; and, for our own part, we would rather 

hook, play, and capture a trout of a pound weight 
with fly, than one of a pound and a half with min- 
now or worm, where, the hooks being larger, there 
is less chance of their losing their hold, and, the 
gut being stronger, there is less risk of its breaking. 
Artificial fly-fishing is also the cleanest and most 
gentlemanly of all the methods of capturing trout. 
The angler who practises it is saved the trouble of 
working with worms, of catching, keeping alive, or 
salting minnows, or searching the river's bank for 
the natural insect. Armed with a light single-handed 
rod and a few flies, he may wander from county 
to county and kill trout wherever they are to be 

In addition to the pleasure and satisfaction ex- 
perienced in exerting the faculties necessary to 
capture the most cunning and cautious of fish, what 
can be more delightful in the sweet spring-time than 
to take one's rod and stroll away into the green 
meadows, by the side of the rippling brook, where 
the eye is gratified by the trees and hedge-rows 
which are putting forth their young leaves ; where 
the sense of smell is refreshed by innumerable wild 
flowers and herbs, and where the ear is charmed by 
the soft " coo " of the wood pigeon, the tinkling of a 
distant sheep-bell, the cry of a partridge to its mate, 
or the occasional splash of a trout in the stream, 
which sounds alone disturb the silence ? Well may 
Walton exclaim : 

" I was for that time lifted above earth, 
Possessed of joys not promised in my birth." 

An all- wise Creator gave man dominion " over the 
fish of the sea, over the fowls of the air, and over every 


living thing that moveth upon the earth ; " and a 
very large proportion of the human race, either from 
motives of necessity or recreation, exercise the 
powers thus given them either in killing or sub- 
jugating the lower branches of the animal creation. 

Without wishing to detract from other sports, I 
think Walton was quite right in claiming for angling 
a decided preference. In the present day it is 
followed by men of all classes, from the nobleman 
who owns miles of salmon river to the East-end 
mechanic or apprentice, who trudges off to the Lea 
river on a Sunday morning with his eighteenpenny 
roach-rod, and many of whom, but for this angling 
opportunity, would have no relaxation from the dull, 
mill-horse round of their daily lives, save some kind, 
perhaps, far more demoralising; but who, by its 
judicious indulgence, by breathing the pure air of 
the country, and by being brought into contact with 
beautiful river scenery and animal and vegetable life, 
re-invigorate their bodies, exalt their minds, and 
beget a state of quiet contentment, patience, and 
perseverance exceedingly useful in these days of 
high-pressure wear-and-tear. Sir Henry Wotton 
says of angling, he found it " a cheerer of the spirits, 
a tranquillizer of the mind, a calmer of unquiet 
thoughts, a diverter of sadness." Ladies, too, ever 
since the time of Cleopatra, have liked to " betray 
tawny-finn'd fishes," and Dame Juliana Berners has 
shown by her " Boke of St. Albans " that she had a 
minute and practical knowledge of " fyshynge with 
an angle " far beyond the previous writers on the 
art ; and with the present rage for out-of-door amuse- 
ments among the fair sex, fishing has its votaries, 

notwithstanding the attractions of croquet and lawn- 

Having been a fly-fisher many years, I venture to 
offer a few ideas on the subject, not with a view to 
instruct my elder brethren in the art, but merely to 
explain some principles that my experience has 
proved to be correct, and thereby to save, perhaps, 
some trouble and loss of time to young beginners. I 
am fully aware that no amount of theory without 
practice will ever make a fly-fisher, but I am also 
aware that practice will become much easier, and be 
far more likely to prove successful, if based on a 
correct theory, than if left to itself. 




VARIOUS opinions prevail as to wet and dry fishing, 
and I think in this matter, if we want to deceive trout, 
we should follow Nature as closely as possible. On a 
dry, quiet day the wings of the natural fly are dry, 
and when it falls on the water it takes some time 
before they become saturated, and until then it 
floats on the surface. Imitate this by giving your 
artificial fly two or three flicks backwards and 
forwards before you finally throw it. You thus shake 
the water out of it, and it floats. But on wet or 
very windy days the natural fly soon becomes wet 
with rain, or from the broken surface of the water, 
and at such times let the artificial lure sink a few 
inches beneath the surface, and if the trout are feed- 
ing, fishing in this manner is most deadly. At night 
I have generally found wet fly-fishing to answer best, 
even when there has been no rain, and I attribute 
this to the natural flies becoming damp with dew 
and thereby sinking. For dry fly-fishing floating 
flies are now much used. The great objection to 
them appears to be the hardness of their bodies, 
which is no sooner found by trout to be different to 
the natural fly than they blow it out without giving 
time to strike. I have found this particularly with 
cork-bodied May-flies, and prefer the ordinary body 
in consequence. 


Mr. G. Holland, of Salisbury, makes a speciality 
of floating flies on eyed hooks and cobweb gut,, 
which bear an excellent reputation ; and my friend,. 
Mr. R. B. Lodge, has lately invented a floating fly 
with an air-tight body, which floats well and does 
not get water-logged. If he can make it of a soft 
material, not liable to be punctured by the trout's 
teeth, I think there will be no doubt of its being a 
great improvement. 




AN important point is to commence with proper 
tackle, for it is of no use to attempt to catch trout 
with a cart-rope tied to a hedge-stake. First, then, 
with regard to the Rod. A good rod is the angler's 
chief requisite, and extraordinary progress has been 
made in the art of manufacturing rods within the 
last few years. 

There are so many excellent makers that it is only 
necessary to visit one of them and select a rod suit- 
able to your height, strength, and fancy, and in this, 
as in many other respects, fancy goes a long way. 
For all ordinary purposes, a rod from ten to twelve 
feet in length will be sufficient, and I have generally 
used those made in four pieces, the lower three of 
greenheart, or hickory, and the top of bamboo. It 
should be tolerably stiff, for in windy weather it is 
impossible with a light whippy-rod to throw against 
or across the wind and attain any degree of accuracy. 
It should be double-brazed, so that the joints may 
not become fixed by the swelling of the wood when 
wet, and the brass joints should be made slightly 
tapering, and the whole, when put together, should 
taper regularly from butt to point, and when held 
horizontally should be stiff enough to lie ' almost 
level. It should, of course, be fitted with small brass 


rings for the line to run through, which, if placed at 
proper distances, divide the strain equally, keep the 
line snug, and prevent entanglements. 

Another matter of apparently trifling importance, 
but really very essential, is, that near the ends of each 
length of the rod, and being parallel with it, should 
be a small brass loop or hitcher, tied on with fine 
binding wire. Before commencing to fish, pass a 
piece of thread or twist round each two of these 
loops, and tie the joints firmly together ; this will 
prevent them from slipping, which is often the cause 
of losing a good fish or breaking the rod. After the 
season is over, clean the rod with very fine emery 
powder, then let it lie in a trough filled with oil for a 
day or two, and after it has been out of the oil long 
enough for the surface to get dry, give it a couple of 
coats of clear carriage varnish, and put it away for 
the winter. 

Split-cane rods appear to be much on the increase, 
but they are rather expensive. It may be, perhaps, 
from having been accustomed for many years to 
greenheart that I do not take readily to the light, 
springing motion of cane. This lightness is some- 
what modified by the use of steel centres, but unless 
they can be made much cheaper than at present, 
which I think doubtful, the price will be a great 
hindrance to their coming into general use. 

There were some splendid rods in the last Sports- 
men's Exhibition, and the man must be very hard to 
please who could not find one to his taste there. 
Among them all, the best I could see for usefulness, 
at a moderate price, was a little rod called the 
" Hotspur," built by Messrs. Hardy, of Alnwick. It 


is made of greenheart, in two lengths, and only ten 
feet long, but wonderfully powerful as well as pliant, 
and is fitted with a spiral joint fastening, which 
renders the tying above recommended unnecessary. 



Now, as to the reel. Notwithstanding that some of 
the books on fishing call the multiplying reel an 
abomination, I always prefer one ; finding that when 
you hook a fish it is very desirable to have the means 
of winding in the slack line quickly should he come 
towards you. I have used a two-inch brass multiplier 
some years, and never, to my knowledge, lost a fish 
by its inaction. The revolving plate is a great 
improvement on the old windlass. 

Messrs. Foster, of Ashbourne, are making an 
improved winch with a male screw to fit into the 
female thread at the butt of the rod, where the spear 
is usually fixed. This is a great advantage, as the 
liability to get the line entangled is not so great as 
with a side winch, and it also enables the angler 
to make more of the length of his rod by grasping it 
lower down. 

The best line I know of is the " Acme," also made 
by Messrs. Foster. It is constructed of plaited silk, 
with a very fine strand of annealed copper wire 
running through it. The wire gives a little weight 
and stiffness to the line, so that it does not kink or 
knot up so readily as one made of all silk, while it is 
about half the size of the old-fashioned line made of 
mixed silk and hair. With this line much more 


accurate casting can be made than with one of all 
silk ; and the late David Foster, the inventor of it, 
says that by using it he increased the length of his 
throw from 29^yds. to 32jyds. with a single-handed fly 
rod. But this is extraordinary casting, such as few 
can accomplish. At the Casting Tournament, held 
at Hendon five years ago, I saw soyds. 6in. thrown. 
Anyone who can throw a fly 25yds., clean and 
straight, and pitch it within a yard of the object 
aimed at, may consider himself a pretty good hand. 
Where one can do it, ninety-nine cannot. 

The gut or casting line should be moderately stout 
at the upper part, and tapered down to the point, 
and if stained of a dull blue or green colour is less 
likely to be seen than when quite white. 

I always make up my own casts by picking out 
suitable lengths of gut and tying them together by 
a fisherman's knot, and if anything gives way I have 
no one but myself to blame. In cutting off the ends 
of the gut do not cut them quite close to the knot, 
but leave just sufficient to take hold of with a pair of 
tweezers. Flatten out the ends by pinching them ; 
you thus prevent the knot from drawing, and it need 
not be clumsy. It is far more economical to use the 
best gut that can be obtained than to whip off your 
flies, or lose a fish, by having a cheaper article. 

The whole rod, running line and casting line, 
wholly and separately should taper from one end to 
the other, and should be in thorough proportion to 
each other, and nothing but experience will enable 
one how to ascertain when this is so. If the rod is too 
stiff for the line you cannot deliver the latter properly, 
and if the line is too heavy for the rod you run the 


risk of breaking the rod's back ; while, if the gut is 
too heavy for the line, it will pitch all in a heap, and, 
of course, scare the fish. 

Flies are commonly made with a loop at the end 
of the gut, to be passed through a corresponding 
loop at the end of the casting line. A much neater 
plan is to cut off the loops, or buy your flies without 
them, and tie the two ends together as above 

Flies tied on eyed hooks are a great improvement 
on the old style. They are more easily packed, not 
having that awkward coil of gut attached to them, 
which is always so difficult to manage in a book, and 
which is almost certain to result in the loss of some 
flies on a windy day. They can be readily attached 
and detached when necessary, and are lighter and 
float better, and there is not that friction of the gut 
at the most important point, as with flies tied on gut. 
I have frequently found when fishing that the fly I 
particularly wished to use on clear water was tied 
on stout gut for rough water, and was larger than my 
gut cast above it. This is wrong in principle, but 
with eyed hooks gut to suit the water could easily be 
tied on. 

Never go out without a landing-net. The most 
convenient is that with a telescopic handle and folding 
ring. Near the upper end of the outside part of the 
handle should be a brass spring hook, to slip over 
the strap which crosses your chest towards the left 
side. When you hook a fish, you can, without 
moving the right hand from the rod, lift the landing- 
net off with the left hand and throw out the handle 
ready for use. A pair of waterproof wading-boots 



or stockings, a good pocket-knife, a piece of india- 
rubber, with which to straighten the gut, a wicker 
creel, and something to eat, drink, and smoke, and 
you are equipped for a day's sport, with the excep- 
tion of flies, of which I shall next treat. 



THERE is no subject on which anglers differ so much 
as to what assortment of flies is necessary. Some 
will carry as many as a hundred sorts in their book, 
while a few, following Mr. Cholmondely Pennell, are 
content with three nondescripts of quite an 
unnatural appearance, and pretend they can catch as 
many fish as the man who goes prepared with a 
larger quantity. Walton names nine, beside cater- 
pillars ; and Cotton mentions sixty - nine ; while 
Ronald, in his splendid work, describes very many 
more to choose from. David Foster speaks of thirty - 
one. My experience has taught me that about twenty 
are necessary and sufficient for all ordinary purposes. 
In calm weather and smooth water one fly at a time 
is enough ; but in rain, wind, or broken water, two, 
three, or even four flies may be used with advantage, 
as you give the fish a variety to choose from, and 
can thereby find out which kind they are taking, and 
adapt your cast to their taste. 

The fly nearest the rod is called the " first drop," 
the next the "second drop," and so on, and the 
farthest from the rod the "stretcher." The last drop 
should be about 2oin. from the stretcher, and the 
other drops I2in. or i/jin. apart. When it is thought 
desirable to use more than one fly, bend the loop of 


your drop fly round one of the knots in the casting- 
line, and pass the drop through the loop thus bent 
and draw it tight. The drop fly will thus stand at 
right angles with the casting-line, and should be 
about 3in. from it, and the trout will not be likely to 
come in contact with the line when seizing the fly. 

It does not very often happen that you hook two 
trout at a time, and after you have hooked them, 
the difficulty is to get them both into the landing- 
net, as they dart about in divers directions ; but I 
succeeded in hooking and landing two at a time on 
three occasions in the summer of 1881. In such 
cases get the fish on the stretcher into the net first. 
Two at a time necessitates good tackle and very 
careful handling. When one can accomplish this 
difficult feat, with two trout of a pound weight each, 
he may consider himself a fly-fisher. 

Artificial flies should represent, in size, shape, and 
colour, as nearly as possible the natural flies which 
frequent the water you are fishing. 

On examining the following selection it will be found 
that the natural flies are chiefly represented by three 
colours green, yellow, and brown ; and, although 
Mr. Pennell was so far right, the general appearance 
of natural flies must also be imitated, if you would 
achieve success. I do not hold it necessary to follow 
minutely every colour, or the exact shape of the 
natural fly, because nine out of every ten fish caught 
seize the fly immediately it alights on the water, and 
sometimes even before it touches ; therefore they 
cannot have time to study very particularly every 
detail of the lure thus suddenly presented to them, 
but, seeing something apparently resembling what 


they are feeding on, dash at it instantaneously, and 
find out the mistake when it is too late. What is of 
far greater importance than the exact representation 
of the natural fly is, that when the artificial falls on 
the water there should be nothing else occurring at 
the same time to scare the fish. The motion of the 
arm, the flash of the rod, the bungling of the casting- 
line, or pitching the fly on the water in an unnatural 
manner, all tend to make trout rise short, or not rise 
at all. 

In determining what colours to use it is desirable 
to look at both natural and artificial specimens 
through water from underneath, as they then appear 
quite different to what they do when viewed out of 
water. The late John Hammond, of Winchester, 
designer of the Hammond's Adopted and Wickham's 
Fancy, once showed me this through a clear- 
bottomed decanter. 

The following list of flies will be found in the 
greater part of the United Kingdom, although they 
may be called by different names in different 
localities, the chief variation being in size rather 
than colour or shape ; and it is always desirable to 
use artificial flies of the size of the natural ones 
which are to be found in the locality you are 
fishing : 

Red Spinner, March Brown, Blue Dun, Alder Fly, 
Hofland's Fancy, Stone Fly, Gr annum, Wickham's 
Fancy, Oak Fly, Sedge, Green Drake, Grey Drake, 
Coachman, Black Palmer, Red Palmer, Coch-y-bonddhu t 
Red Ant, July Dun, Black Gnat, White Moth. 

I am convinced that, with the above assortment of 
flies, there are not many days in the season but that 


one or other of them will do execution, and there is 
seldom a day that trout do not rise at some time or 
other in it, unless the water be too thick for them to 
see the fly. As I am writing for the average fly- 
fisher, who need not waste the time or take the 
trouble to make his own flies, I will not attempt to 
describe the manner of making them, believing that 
it is much better to visit a good tackle shop and 
get what is required ; yet I think it desirable to show 
of what materials they should be composed, in order 
that he may know what are the most killing sorts, 
and how to distinguish them in ordering. 


1. The Red Spinner. Body, brown silk, ribbed 
with fine gold twist ; tail, two fibres of a red cock's 
hackle ; wings, of some transparent brown feather. 

2. March Brown, or Brown Drake. This, like the 
other drakes, is a great favourite with trout in its 
season, which is during March and April, and it may 
also be used in the autumn. Body, orange-coloured 
silk or deep straw colour, on which wind fur from a 
hare's poll ; legs, a honey-dun hackle ; wings, to 
stand erect, of the top of the light or inner fibres of 
the feather of the hen pheasant's wing; tail, two 
fibres of the same feather. Rib with gold twist for 
your tail fly, and let the droppers be without any 

The above is " Ephemera's " way of making it, 
but Mr. Ronalds says : " Body, fur of the hare's face 
ribbed over with olive silk and tied with brown silk ; 
tail, two strands of a partridge's feather; wings, 


feather of the pheasant's wing ; legs, a feather from 
the back of a partridge." 

3. Blue Dun. Body, of the hare's ear, dark and 
yellow part mixed with a little yellow mohair, the 
whole to be spun on yellow silk ; wings, from a 
feather of the starling's wing stained in onion dye; 
tail, two whiskers of a rabbit ; legs, to be picked out 
of the dubbing at the thick part near the wings. 

4. Alder Fly. Body, dark claret-coloured fur; 
upper wings, red fibre of the landrail's wing, or red 
tail feather of the partridge; lower wings, of the 
starling's wing feather ; legs, dark red hackle ; horns 
and tail, of fibres the colour of the legs, the horns to 
be shorter than the body of the fly, but the tail a 
little longer. 

5. Hofland's Fancy. Body, reddish dark brown 
silk; wings, woodcock's wing; legs, red hackle; 
tail, two strands of a red hackle. 


6. Stone Fly. Body, fur from hare's ear mixed 
with yellow worsted and spun on yellow silk ; tail, two 
strands of partridge feather ; wings, pheasant's quill 
feather from wings ; legs, greenish brown hackle. 

7. Grannum, or Green-Tail. "Ephemera" says: 
"The grannum is a four- winged fly, and as it swims 
down the water its wings lie flat on the back. It 
has a small bunch of eggs of a green colour at the 
tail end of the body, which gives it the name of the 
green-tail fly. As soon as it alights on the water it 
drops its eggs." It is dressed as follows : 

Body, fur of hare's face left rough and spun on 
brown silk. A little green floss silk may be worked 

2 4 

in at the tail, to represent the bunch of eggs there. 
Wings, feather from that of the partridge, and made 
very full ; legs, a pale ginger hen's hackle. Made 
buzz with a feather from the back of a partridge's 
neck, wound upon the above body. 

8. Wickham's Fancy. Wings, light starling; body, 
flat gold ribbed with fine gold wire ; hackle and 
whisk, bright red gamecock. This is one of the best 
general flies, and is a standing favourite in the south 
of England ; and I have it on the authority of the late 
John Hammond that he made it under the direction 
of Dr. Wickham, of Winchester hence its name. 


g. Oak Fly, or Down-Looker. It is generally found 
on the trunks of oak trees by the river-side, with its 
head pointing downwards, and is a very useful fly. 

" Ephemera" recommends it to be dressed as 
follows: " Body, yellow mohair, ribbed regularly with 
dark brown silk ; legs, a honey dun hackle wound 
thrice under the wings, which are to lie flat and 
short, and to be made of the wing feather of a 
young partridge or hen pheasant. To be tipped 
with pale gold twist." 

10. Sedge. Wings, wing of landrail ; body, white 
floss silk ribbed with silver wire ; hackle, ginger 
cock's hackle down the body. 

11. The May -fly, or Green Drake, is not only a very 
beautiful fly, but one of the most captivating that is 
used, and, as I have stated elsewhere, it requires 
special manipulation. On a windy dull day, in the 
middle of the May- fly season, when there are not many 
natural flies out, it will very soon fill the basket, 


particularly if the water is turbulent. " Ephemera " 
says: "This famous fly is the opprobium of fly- 
makers. Try how they will they cannot, in my 
opinion, imitate it well. The wings are their greatest 
foil. In making the body they succeed tolerably well. 
Still, the best imitation is defective, and, except upon 
rare occasions, the artificial May-fly is not a deadly 
bait." My experience has been the very contrary of 
this. Whether it is from the fly-tiers having suc- 
ceeded in imitating the natural fly since " Ephemera " 
wrote, or not, I do not know, but I have before me 
two specimens tied by Mrs. Ogden that I make no 
doubt would bring me ten or a dozen brace of trout on 
a good day in the season. May-flies are often made 
with cork bodies, but I am not partial to them, for 
the same objection which applies generally to floating 
flies, viz. : that trout find they have something hard 
and unnatural in their mouths, and immediately 
reject it. On a dry bright day use it as a dry fly, 
but on a very wet or windy day fish with it a few 
inches under the surface, and, as Walton says, you 
will have " store of trouts." On one occasion last 
season I caught ten brace of trout with one May-fly 
obtained of Messrs. Alfred and Son, and have it by 
me now, but there is not a vestige of wing left, all 
having been bitten off. Mr. Ronalds recommends it 
to be dressed as follows : " Body, the middle part of 
a pale straw-coloured floss silk, ribbed with silver 
twist ; extremities (head and tail), brown peacock's 
harl, tied with light brown silk thread ; tail, three 
rabbit's whiskers ; wings and legs, made buzz with 
a mottled feather of the mallard, stained olive." 
Instead of the bodies being made of straw-coloured 


silk they are now frequently made of strips of wheat 

12. Grey Drake. This is said to be a metamorphosis 
of the green drake, or female changing to a male. 
Dress it thus : Body, the middle part of white floss 
silk, ribbed over neatly with silver twist ; extremities, 
brown peacock's harl ; wings and legs made buzz 
with a mottled feather of the mallard, stained a faint 
purple ; legs, three rabbit's whiskers. 

13. The Coachman. Body, peacock's harl, full and 
short ; wings, fibres of any small white feather ; legs, 
a turn or two of a red hackle. Mr. Blaine remarks : 
" Throughout the summer months, as an early 
evening fly, and until twilight, it proves most valuable 
in the midland counties, and the bordering ones 
within eighty miles of London. On the Colne, and 
throughout its course, in the Hampshire, Dorset- 
shire, and Devonshire waters, where we have been 
for many years in the habit of using it, in our opinion 
there is no fly to at all equal it." 

14. Black Palmer. Body, black ostrich harl, ribbed 
with gold twist, black cock's hackle wound over the 

15. Red Palmer. Body, dark red-coloured mohair, 
with a richly-tinted red fur intermixed, to be ribbed 
with gold or silver twist ; legs, a blood-red cock's 
hackle. Or, body, a peacock harl with a red cock's 
hackle wrapped over it, and tied with dark brown 
silk thread. 

I have used the Red Palmer in all weathers and 
seasons for nearly fifty years, and believe it to be the 
best general fly there is, although, strictly speaking, 
not a fly, but an imitation of the caterpillar, or larva 


of the tiger moth. Having had such success with it 
I have adopted its name as my nom de plume, and as. 
the title of this little book. 


16. Coch-y-bonddhu. Body, black ostrich harl,. 
twisted with peacock's harl, and made with red silk 
thread ; the wings and legs made buzz with a dark 
furnace hackle. 

17. Red Ant. Body, copper coloured peacock's, 
harl, full near the wings and tail ; wings, a lark's, 
wing feather ; legs, red cock's hackle. 

18. July Dun. Body, mole's fur and pale yellow 
mohair mixed, and spun on yellow silk ; wings, dark 
part of a feather from the starling's wing, stained 
dark in strong onion dye ; legs, dark dun hackle; tail,, 
the two flies of the hackle. 


19. Black Gnat. Body, one of the smallest feathers, 
of the green plover's top-knot, or of a black harl, to- 
be dressed short ; wings, the darkest fibres of an old 
starling's wing feather. 

20. White Moth. Wings, white pigeon's feather;, 
body, white crewel ; legs, white hen's hackle. 

Although I have classified these flies under the 
different months, it does not follow by any means 
that they will kill only in the months named; on 
the contrary, some of them may be used month after 
month, particularly the hackle flies, which may be 
used almost through the season. 

I exhibited samples of the above kinds in my 
lecture to the Gresham and Islington Angling. 


Societies, showing the relative sizes and colours. 
These samples were selected from the stock of 
Messrs. Alfred and Son, of Moorgate Street, where 
I generally obtain what I require, and find their flies 
are to be depended on. As with gut, so with flies, 
it is false economy to buy the cheapest. It requires 
a deal of patience at times before you can hook a 
fish ; and, after you have been so fortunate, it is 
terribly annoying to find the gut draw, and leave 
the fly in its mouth. To guard against this, burn all 
your old flies at the end of the season, except one or two 
of a sort for patterns, and this is another reason why 
you should not have a heavy stock ; and take care, in 
buying your new stock at the spring of the year, that 
you get new, and not those of the previous year. 

In tying gut to the hook, a little varnish generally 
touches the gut, and at this most critical point the 
varnish hardens the gut and causes it to snap. This, 
of course, does not occur with eyed hooks, but even 
with them it is better to have new flies than old, as 
the colours are fresher and the tying more secure. 

Messrs. Ogden and Scotford, the well-known firm 
of Cheltenham, have lately sent me a few samples of 
their flies, tied by Mrs. Ogden, who has long en- 
joyed a very high reputation for her tying. They 
are beautifully made, and I have no doubt will 
prove good killers ; but, as the season is now over, 
have had no opportunity of trying them. 



So much for the tackle to be used in fly-fishing, and, 
being thus provided, in what way should the tyro go 
to work ? The first point to be considered is, Should 
he fish up stream or down ? Old Father Izaak 
says, " fish down stream," but he was not much of 
a fly-fisher, and I cannot help thinking that if he 
had lived in the present day he would have seen fit 
to alter his opinion in this respect. Fish, like 
human beings, have advanced in education since 
that time, and, if you want to catch a trout, get 
behind him. I caught a large trout about eight 
years ago in clear smooth water, where I did not 
much expect to catch one, and on examining him I 
found that he had only one eye, and I had got on 
the blind side and pitched over him. The ad- 
vantages of fishing up stream appear to me so great 
that I can hardly believe any good fly-fisher can 
hold a contrary opinion ; but, lest I should seem 
prejudiced, I will give some reasons for my faith. 
The trout always lies with its head up stream, 
waiting for the food to come down, and if you 
approach it from the rear you are not so likely to be 
seen as when approaching it face to face. Again, 
the natural fly floats down stream, and by throwing 
up and letting the artificial float down you imitate 


the motion of the natural fly, taking care to raise 
the point of the rod as the fly approaches you, so as 
not to have any slack line out, for if you have, you 
cannot strike properly. Another reason is, that if 
while fishing up a trout rises, when you strike you 
will in all probability hook it in the side of the 
mouth as it turns ; but when fishing down, if you 
strike, the motion tends to draw the fly out of 
the fish's mouth, and he does not lose much 
time in getting rid of it if found not to his taste, 
and then 

" The trout within yon wimplin burn 

Glides swift, a silver dart, 
And, safe beneath the shady thorn, 
Defies the angler's art." 

Another important matter to consider is the direc- 
tion of the wind. Always, if you can, fish with the 
wind behind you, or, at all events, so that you can 
throw across it ; but, if you must make a choice of 
evils, choose the lesser, and fish up stream and 
against the wind, rather than down stream and with 
the wind. In considering which side of the river to 
fish, do not, if you can help it, fish from that side 
whence the sun would cast your shadow on the 
water, as nothing is more alarming to trout. It is 
impossible, in a short treatise like the present, to 
give such instruction in throwing the fly as will 
make the tyro an adept. It is desirable to practise 
throwing with both the right and left sweep, as by 
changing from one to the other you avoid getting 
into the bad habit of twisting the rod, which would 
assuredly warp and spoil it ; and by practising short 
throws with the left hand you will be able to give 

the right arm a few minutes' rest occasionally, a 
great relief in a long day's fishing. 

My advice is, to commence with a short line, and 
when you find that you can deliver the line so as to 
be prepared to hook a fish as soon as the fly touches 
the water, gradually increase the length, taking care 
never to attempt to throw more than you can send 
out clean and straight, without disturbing the water. 
But more can be learnt in this respect by an hour's 
practice with an old hand, than by any amount of 
theory. The great points are to keep well out of 
sight, and to imitate the descent of the natural fly on 
the water, which in the case of the smaller flies is as 
soft and gentle as a piece of thistle-down ; but with 
the larger ones, such as the drakes and moths, whose 
bodies are heavy in proportion to the size of their 
wings, compared with other flies, let them fall with 
a slight spat on the water, causing a ring to take 
place on the surface, and letting the fish know it is 



CONSIDERABLE discussion has taken place in the 
angling papers from time to time as to the proper 
time for striking a fish ; and three or four years 
since some extraordinary calculations were made 
with regard to the period that should elapse before 
striking, and for the motion from the arm to reach 
the hook. My opinion, as expressed in the "Angler's 
J ournal ' ' at that time, and lately repeated in ' ' Fishing, ' ' 
is as follows : " As soon as you become aware, either 
by sight, sound, or feeling, that a fish has risen, put 
the hook in him." But you must be careful not to 
strike too hard, or you will either tear the hook out, 
or snap the gut, and thus lose the fish. It should 
only be a slight twitch, given from the wrist, as quick 
as thought, just enough to drive the hook in beyond 
the barb, but not enough to tear the flesh out. I 
have often amused myself by feeding trout, and have 
noticed that, after they have taken several pieces, 
say of bread or paste, if I threw in something like it 
in appearance, such, for instance, as a small white 
stone, they would seize it, and, finding the substance 
different, instantly blow it out again. It is reason- 
able to assume that they would do the same with an 
artificial fly, particularly those having cork bodies ; 
therefore you cannot strike too quickly. But, as this 


is a branch of the subject on which great differences 
of opinion exist, I will here quote some eminent 
angling authorities in support of my views. 

Francis Francis says : " If a fish rises, a slight 
upward turn of the wrist will be sufficient to fix the 
hook. As for giving any direct rules when to strike, 
they would be of little avail, as sometimes fish rise 
quickly, sometimes with more circumspection, and 
sometimes altogether falsely." Next, Cummins : 
" When a trout takes your fly do not strike too hard ; 
more fish are lost by anglers striking when using 
small flies than are secured by such means. The 
line tightened is sufficient in most cases, particularly 
in fishing streams." In "Fishing " of March 3ist last 
I say : " I agree that in rapid stream fishing there is 
no necessity for striking." Ephemera also advises 
that, " The moment you see, and then feel, a rise, 
strike gently from the wrist." Elaine also writes to 
the same effect. Stewart, in the "Practical Angler," has 
the following passage : "A difference of opinion exists 
as to whether trout should be struck on rising ; but, 
in common with the majority of anglers, we advocate 
immediate striking. When a trout takes a fly it 
shuts its mouth, and if the angler strikes then he is 
almost sure to bring the hook into contact with the 
closed jaws. We have frequently watched the 
motions of trout on taking a fly, and when left to do 
with it as they chose, they very quickly expelled it 
from their mouths with considerable force ; and we 
think that, if the angler strikes, even when the trout's 
mouth is open, he will have a much better chance 
than by leaving it to hook itself. A trout on seizing 
an artificial fly is almost instantaneously aware that 



it is a counterfeit, and never attempts to swallow it ; 
very frequently letting it go before the angler has 
time to strike, so that it is of the utmost importance 
to strike immediately, and this is the reason why a 
quick eye and a ready hand are considered the most 
necessary qualifications for a fly-fisher." Foster, in 
the "Scientific Angler" says : " The action requisite 
is a short quick wrist-motion, commenced sharply 
but ended almost instantly and abruptly, like 
a quick movement of the hand in bringing a foil 
in fencing from tierce to carte." It is impossible 
to strike too quick, but it is quite possible to 
strike too hard. 

All the above opinions are based on the supposition 
that a fish has risen. It is not very often that a trout 
is seen in the act of rising, but should it be, of course 
sufficient time must be given for it to reach the fly, 
then strike at once. When you find that you have 
hooked your fish, be prepared for its rush, and then 
comes the time when all your patience, experience, 
and lightness of hand, are called into requisition. 
Let the fish have its head a little at first, taking care 
to steer it clear of weeds, bushes, and sunken obstacles 
in the water, and then give it a slight pressure from 
the rod, in addition to the friction of the line which 
it is dragging through the water; and if you can get 
it down stream, so as not to disturb the fish above, 
so much the better. When you have got it down 
stream, and under command, do not be in too great 
a hurry to land it, for sometimes when you think it is 
spent it will make a sudden dart, and you lose it. 
Give it plenty of time to tire itself out, then put the 
landing net quietly into the water, slip it under the 


fish, and lift it out. Then put the thumb of your 
right hand into its mouth, with the fingers at the 
back of its head, and press the upper jaw back 
until its spine is broken. This is far better than 
letting the fish flop about and discolour itself in the 

D a 



HAVING explained the apparatus necessary for catch- 
ing trout, the next part of my subject appears to be 
the time when to go fishing, and one important point 
is the weather. Notwithstanding what some writers 
have said about catching trout in an east wind, I do 
not believe in it. With a wind from the South, 
West, or South-west, and a dull or showery day, one 
may fairly expect success ; but to go out on a bright 
clear day, with wind from the North or East, is, in 
my opinion, neither pleasant nor profitable. I have 
done it many times when I had less experience, 
though not more enthusiasm, than at present, but I 
seldom do it now. An old song says : 

" A Southerly wind and a cloudy sky 
Proclaim a hunting morning ; " 

and they also tell the fly-fisher when to be off to the 
river. I should not be doing justice to this part of 
my subject if I were not to allude to the fly-fisher's 
carnival, the May-fly season. From about the last week 
in May till the middle of June is the time above all 
others to catch trout. I have frequently caught five 
or six brace in a couple of hours during this short 
season ; but as soon as it is over I put away the rod 
for a few days, for, the fish being fairly glutted with 
the natural fly, do not care much for the artificial 


alter the former is gone, although it will sometimes 
happen that on a rough, dull day, you can have good 
sport for a week or ten days afterwards. 

The length of the May-fly season depends greatly 
on the weather. It generally lasts about three 
weeks; but the present season (1888) has been 
exceptionally wet and cold, and the flies were only 
hatched at long and irregular intervals, owing to the 
absence of sun. Consequently the season extended 
from the second or third day of June till the second 
week of July. On the nth of June last I was fishing 
with a May-fly and a small Soldier-palmer for drop, 
my usual custom, and was struck by the difference 
of the manner in which fish rose at the two flies. 
The rise at the May-fly was bold and decisive, but 
without undue haste, whilst that at the Palmer was a 
sudden swish, without giving time to strike. I can 
only account for this by the circumstance that 
the natural May-fly is longer on the water than the 
Palmer before it gets water-logged and sinks, and the 
fish therefore know that they can take their time 
about it. The stream was very difficult to fish, and I 
lost a great many fish as well as flies from getting 
entangled in the bushes; nevertheless I succeeded in 
landing twelve brace of trout, besides some returned. 

Next, as to the time of day. The most preferable 
times are from about 8 a.m. till noon, and after 
4 p.m. till midnight. In many trout clubs there is a 
rule prohibiting fishing after half-past nine ; but, if 
you are not restricted in that respect, you will find 
that the largest fish are taken from sunset till ten or 
eleven o'clock. The only justification for late fishing 
is that the very large trout, which often attain their 


great size from preying on their own species, then 
come out of their hiding-places and chase the small 
fry up and down the shallows. These cannibalistic 
old gentlemen, who do more harm than good in a 
trout stream, do not usually rise at a fly, and can 
only be caught with a live bait or worm, or by night 
fishing with a sunk fly, and the end justifies the 
means. White or brown moths are the favourites. 
I had some moths made specially large, on strong 
gut, for late fishing, but found it advisable to use a 
short line and only one fly, and to get the fish into 
the landing-net as soon as possible, for it is awkward 
work to land a big fish after dark, particularly if 
you are hampered with weeds or bushes. 




A KNOWLEDGE of the habits of trout is very essential, 
and this knowledge can only be acquired by careful 
observation. The largest fish are generally to be 
found where they can obtain the best supply of food 
such points as just below sharp bends of the stream, 
behind large stones or other obstructions, at the 
head or tail of deep pools, and on the margin of 
swift currents, or under overhanging banks; and, if 
you take a good fish at any particular spot, you will 
probably find, a day or two afterwards, that the next 
best fish in that locality has taken the place of the 
one you captured. It has often occurred to me that 
there are several reasons why brook trout do not 
thrive in the lower part of rivers communicating 
with the sea. One thing is, to my mind, very cer- 
tain they do not feel at home in salt, or even 
brackish, water, and do not seek it of their own 
accord. Having lived many years within sight of a 
point where a fresh water stream flows into salt 
water, I have had perhaps exceptional opportunities 
of observing them, and forming an opinion on the sub- 
ject ; and, although I have lately seen an apparently 
well-supported contrary opinion strongly expressed, 
I am not yet convinced, thinking that probably 
some error may have crept in as to the kind of fish, 


or some disturbing cause taken place in the state of 
the water. Occasionally they get washed down by 
floods, or by the breaking away or uplifting of 
hatches or gates ; but, as soon as the rush of water 
subsides, they begin to work their way up again, and 
if there is an obstacle to their ascending, such as a 
weir or mill, they are sure to be found close up to it, 
having got as far as they can. They always seem 
prompted by instinct to work upwards into shallow 
rapid water, where the bottom is gravelly, and, I 
believe, for the following reasons : They can there 
deposit and cover up their ova, and, when hatched, 
the young fry can get protection among it from their 
numerous enemies in their early days ; and, although 
food may be plentiful in muddy sluggish streams 
near salt water, it is not of the kind that trout 
delight in. Larva, flies, and minnows abound in 
clear bright streams, and there the trout can clean 
themselves from their parasites, and, with healthy 
bodies and abundance of the food they enjoy, come 
into condition early, and become lusty and strong. 

In the breeding time they, like many other 
animals, lose their usual caution and shyness, and 
when performing their natural functions seem to 
take no notice of what is passing around them ; and 
thus very many of the best fish are captured in 
shallow water, and the streams almost depopulated. 
The greatest vigilance should be exercised in the 
spawning time to prevent poachers, both human 
and others, from preying upon them. In addition to 
men, swans, ducks, otters, herons, pike, perch, &c., 
&c., all prey on the luckless trout and its ova and 
fry, and the wonder is that the stock is so well 

maintained as it is. Otters and herons in particular 
appreciate this dainty, and either of them will travel 
across country many miles to get to a well-stocked 
trout stream. So strong is the instinct of the trout 
to get into shallow streams to deposit their spawn, 
that they will leap waterfalls several feet in height, 
or wriggle up over gravel where there is not half 
enough water to cover them, and where it is fre- 
quently impossible for them to get back again, and 
there they are often destroyed. 



HAVING spoken of the how and when, next comes the 
where; and under this head I feel bound, in the 
interests of friends, not to describe, other than in 
very general terms, the localities where good fishing 
is to be had. Walton, from frequently visiting 
Winchester, where his remains lie, and where a 
statue of him has lately been erected by anglers, 
(the movement for which I had the honour of start- 
ing), was doubtless well acquainted with Hampshire 
or, as he quaintly calls it, " Hantshire," which, he 
says, " exceeds all England for its swift, shallow, 
clear, pleasant brooks, and store of trouts." In his 
will he mentions part of his books as being at 
Droxford (about eleven miles from Winchester), 
where it is presumed he resided occasionally. I 
know no better trout stream than that in this 
locality. Many a basket of goodly trout have I had 
from it in days gone by. It was near here that I 
caught the two large trout at one time, before 
alluded to. 

I suppose at the present time the Avon, the Test, 
and the Itchen are unsurpassed in the United 
Kingdom. All the north, or what is commonly 
called the upper, part of Hampshire, forms part of the 
south-western edge of the basin of the Thames, and 


is drained into it by the Wey, the Enborn, and the 
Blackwater. The district east of Alton and north of 
the South Downs is drained by the Rother, which is 
a tributary of the river Arun, and discharges into 
the English Channel, near Arundel, in Sussex. In 
.all these rivers, springing out of the chalk hills, there 
is good trout fishing, but not equal to that on the 
south side of the South Downs, where the country, 
sloping away to the southward and westward, either 
drains into the Solent or the river Avon ; and it is to 
these southern rivers and streams that Walton more 
particularly alluded. The Test, or Anton, rises in 
the neighbourhood of Andover and Whitchurch, and 
falls into the Southampton Water to the westward 
of the town of Southamption, while the Itchen, 
rising near Alresford, and passing Winchester and 
Bishopstoke, discharges into Southampton Water 
to the eastward of the town. The Avon, entering 
Hampshire from Wiltshire, and passing Fording- 
bridge and Ringwood, discharges into Christchurch 
Bay, where the Stour also empties itself. There are 
also several smaller streams rising south of the hills 
which stretch from Winchester to Petersfield, and 
discharge themselves into the Solent. All these 
streams are well stocked with trout, and some of 
them contain roach, perch, pike, and grayling, and 
the larger ones also salmon. If greater facilities 
were given to salmon to ascend they would doubt- 
less do so, as they are occasionally caught in 
stake nets while working their way along the south 
coast, evidently in search of rivers, up which to 
ascend for the purpose of spawning. But the river 
proprietors do not provide means for the salmon to 


go upwards, it being generally considered that salmon 
and trout do not thrive well together, and that if 
the breeding of salmon was encouraged it would be 
at the expense of the trout fisheries. 

Nearly all these Hampshire rivers are strictly pre- 
served, and some of those in the vicinity of Andover, 
Stockbridge, Houghton, and Winchester are in the 
hands of first-class clubs, the subscriptions to which 
are high, and access difficult. Still, there are a few 
pieces of free water at Winchester, Bishopstoke, and 
Romsey ; and Mr. Currell and Mr. Chalkley, both of 
Winchester, rent considerable portions of the river 
there, and issue season and day tickets. At Bishop- 
stoke, where there is some splendid trout and grayling 
fishing, season and day tickets are now being issued 
by the proprietor of a large estate, who has hitherto 
preserved very highly, and would scarcely allow his 
own friends to fish ; and several instances have come 
to my knowledge lately where landed proprietors, 
only able to obtain a reduced income from their farms, 
have been glad to supplement it by making a few 
pounds annually out of their fishing. So that, to the 
angler as well as the land owner, agricultural distress 
is not an unmitigated evil. And if more attention 
was paid to the stocking and preserving of rivers, the 
incomes of landed proprietors might be considerably 
increased, and a very important addition made to the 
food of the country. The Avon, at Ringwood, in the 
New Forest, about 100 miles S.W. of London, has 
some good salmon trout and grayling fishing, and 
also very fine roach and perch. Day tickets can be 
obtained of the hotel keepers. The Beaulieu river, 
the tidal portion of which is, of course, free, is noted, 


not only for its coarse fish, but also for quantities of 
sea-trout that frequent it in the autumn months. 

Fishermen have increased so rapidly in the last 
few years that those who have fishing rights take 
care of them, and where one could formerly go un- 
challenged, he now has to ask permission for a day, 
and very often may consider himself lucky if he gets 
it. There are now about 180 angling societies in and 
around London, consisting of nearly 5,000 members, 
besides a large number of anglers who do not belong 
to any society ; consequently fish have been becoming 
more and more scarce year after year, and the 
increase of population and pollution of rivers have 
also tended to drive them away. But, in order to 
supply to some extent the deficiency, artificial breed- 
ing has become very general. The National Pisci- 
cultural Society breed and distribute immense numbers 
of young trout every year. Greater efforts are also 
being made than formerly to prevent poaching, the 
destruction of undersized fish, and taking them when 
out of season ; therefore, the prospects of anglers 
are beginning to look brighter. 

In describing the where to go fishing, I have 
alluded more particularly to Hampshire, not only 
because it is the best part of England for trout, but 
because it also happens to be the county with which 
I am best acquainted. 

Throughout the whole of the county, fishing for 
trout with anything but an artificial fly is considered 
unsportsmanlike, and is strictly prohibited in all 
the clubs. 

Still, there are many other localities where, if the 
angler does not mind going farther afield, good 

4 6 

trout fishing can be obtained. For instance, Scot- 
land and Wales, where, from the hilly conformation 
of the country, the streams are rapid and therefore 
suitable for trout ; Devonshire, where the trout are 
small, but very numerous ; the neighbourhood of 
the Peak, in Derbyshire, than which there is none 
much better ; the upper portions of the Thames and 
Lea and their tributaries all these are worth the 
fly-fisher's attention, and many of them will repay 
him for the time and trouble spent in visiting them. 




WHEN fishing in Hampshire some ten or twelve 
years ago, a moorhen came out of some bushes near 
me and rushed down the brook, with its feet just 
trailing along on the surface. As it was going over 
my line I gave a twitch and hooked it in the under 
part of the foot, where the skin is as tough as leather. 
Then I had a lively time for about twenty minutes, 
up and down, in and out ; but my tackle was good, 
and I handled the rod carefully, till at length the 
bird was pretty well tired, and got in among some 
bushes, and a friend who was with me went into 
the water and got it into the landing-net. I 
preserved it and had it mounted. 

On another occasion I saw a rat swimming across 
the stream, and pitched my fly just beyond him 
and hooked him firmly. Of course he dived, 
but could not get away from me, and at last came 
ashore into the long grass where I was standing. 
It was nearly dark and I could not see him, but 
presently found he had got the line entangled round 
my legs. I threw the rod down, and stamped about, 
thinking to tread on him, but suppose I trod on the 
gut, for he got away with it. When I picked up my 
rod I found I had stamped on it also and broken it ; 
therefore I determined to let the next rat alone. 

4 8 

Another time I had been fishing late, with a white 
moth, and, on leaving off, twisted the gut and fly round 
my hat. Getting through a hedge the gut caught in 
a bramble, and the fly went into my scalp, and the 
more I pulled the worse it was. The same friend 
was with me, and helped me out of it. We then 
went to a doctor, who snipped away the hair and cut 
the hook out. 

It is not very often that an eel is taken with a fly, 
but I was once fishing with a Palmer, and, being tired, 
very carelessly laid my rod down with the fly in the 
water, which, of course, sank to the bottom. I 
strolled about, and coming back picked up the rod, 
and found an eel attached, which I landed. 




FINALLY, fly-fishing may be considered one of the 
best of sports, because it can be followed late in life. 
Most devotees of sport, when the nerves become 
shaky and the eyes grow dim, must content them- 
selves with thinking or talking of what they did in 
their youth. But it is not so with the fly-fisher. 
He can still throw a fly and play a trout, better 
perhaps than in his youth, because of his greater 
experience ; and, when in the down-hill of life he looks 
back on the hopes and anticipations of his boyhood 
days, it must be gratifying to feel that the times 
spent among the beauties of nature in exercising the 
angler's art have been the most enjoyable parts of 
his life, and that he is none the worse man for having 
obeyed the precepts and followed the example of 
our grand old past master, Izaak Walton. 



IT is doubtful whether the gratification of taking fish is equal 
to that which results from the recital of the achievement, and 
describing to a sympathetic audience the method and tackle by 
which the prey has been ensnared. Walton and his friends, 
after a long day, loved to meet at some village alehouse, and 
fight their battles o'er again ; and in the present day one of the 
most enjoyable parts of the evening spent at an Angling Society 
is when the chairman asks, " Has any one been fishing?" and 
the members recount their piscatorial experiences since the last 
meeting. Any one unaccustomed to such meetings would be 
surprised at the knowledge of rivers, the country, the habits, 
and the haunts of particular kinds of fish and insects, the various 
sorts of baits and tackle to be used, and all the technical in- 
formation which the London angler displays on such occasions ; 
and this broader view of nature and life is not the least of the 
benefits derived from following the piscatorial art. 

The London clubs number about 200, with upwards of 5,000 
members ; and considering that a very large number of anglers 
do not belong to any club, it will be readily understood that the 
angling fraternity form a considerable part of the community, 
whose great aim is to enjoy themselves in a rational and innocent 
manner, away from the clank of .machinery, the roar of street 
traffic, and the stifling atmosphere of a great city ; and every 
assistance and encouragement should be given them to do so 
and they are progressing. Many of them practice fly-fishing ; 
and if trout are not to be got, there are chub, dace, and bleak, 


and occasionally a roach, to reward them for their skill. The one 
great difficulty is where to get good fishing, and this is to some 
extent overcome by the co-operation of anglers, through their 
clubs and associations, who not only rent waters for their mem- 
bers, but make arrangements with the railway companies to take 
them into the country and back at greatly reduced fares. The 
preserving and re-stocking of waters also form an important part 
of the business of angling clubs. Experience has taught them that 
it is of very little use to turn in fry before they are old enough 
to take care of themselves, but that it is more satisfactory, and 
ultimately more economical to purchase yearling fish in the first 
place. These various matters have been so well attended to, 
that, notwithstanding the great increase in the number of anglers, 
access to well-stocked rivers is more easy of attainment now than 
it was a few years ago. 

Of course, every care should be taken to prevent poaching, to 
keep down predaceous fish, and prevent undersized and out-of- 
season fish from being taken ; but with these precautions, if the 
river is naturally adapted for the kind of fish required, there 
should be no difficulty. 

In the case of trout, the quantity, quality, and size will very 
much depend on the quantity and kind of food to be obtained. 
There should be plenty of weeds, sedge, flags, &c., not only for 
shelter, but they are the natural breeding places of insects and 
Crustacea, in which trout delight, and if the river is overhung 
with trees and bushes it not only adds to the security of the fish, 
but harbours flies and other insects which drop off into the 

WET v. DRY. 

The difference between wet and dry fly-fishing is this : the 
wet fly is worked gently along some few inches beneath the 
surface until a fish is found, which, when they are scarce, or not 
rising, may be a tedious process, and often the first intimation is 
a sudden tug without any rise, which should be immediately 
answered by as sudden a twitch from the wrist. 


The dry-fly fisherman walks quietly along by the side of the 
stream, and if he sees a trout rising, drops his fly lightly a little 
above it, and preferably also a little on one side, and lets it float 
down stream on the surface to the fish, gently raising the point 
of his rod in the meantime. In case no fish are rising, he care- 
fully casts to the most likely-looking spots, and particularly under 
the bank on which he is standing. 

In nine cases out of ten, a trout, if it rises at all, takes the dry 
fly immediately it touches the water ; therefore, one should learn 
to cast clean and straight, without any slack line. 


There is a great difference of opinion among anglers as to the 
amount of pliancy a fly-rod ought to possess. From the old- 
fashioned, heavy, stiff rod, we have gone to the other extreme, 
and had cane rods so light and whippy as to be entirely useless 
on a windy day ; and now we have what is, in my opinion, a some- 
what sensible reaction, and are coming back to a greenheart from 
ten to twelve feet long, of medium substance and pliability. 

Such a rod, with an Acme line suited to it, and the whole 
adapted to the height and strength of the angler, ought to make 
good casting. Long casting may be showy, but in practice it is 
far better to cast lightly and accurately, and this tends to fill the 
basket much more than being able to get out an extra length. 
One piece of advice may be relied on : never part with a good 
rod after you have become accustomed to it. It is not only the 
pleasurable associations connected with it, but the confidence you 
have in it, and, through it, in yourself, enables you to kill fish 
with it. 

With care, it may be made to last a lifetime. I used, the other 
day, at the International Tournament, a greenheart that I have 
used almost exclusively for about twelve years, and with which I 
have killed many hundred brace of trout. If, on the occasion 
referred to, I had used an Ogden and Scotford's multum in parvo, 
I believe I should have thrown two yards farther. 



I see no reason to alter the list given in the first edition, indeed, 
subsequent experience has tended to confirm my opinion expressed 

Many old anglers say it is of no use in the May-fly season to try 
any other fly. I generally use a May-fly as stretcher, and a small 
Soldier-palmer as drop, and out of seventeen-and-a-half brace of 
trout caught last Whitsuntide in two half-days, one-third of them 
were caught on the Palmer. Others say it is useless to try a 
May-fly, except when the natural fly is out ; but this is also 
subject to modification. 

There have been two or three well-authenticated cases reported 
in the sporting journals lately, of fish having been killed some 
weeks before and after the season on Ephemera vulgata. Indeed, 
there has been seen in Ireland this autumn a second very 
strong rise of May-fly. 

In the first edition I speak of the Grey-drake thus : " This is 
said to be a metamorphosis of the green drake, or female, changing 
to a male." The passage should have read thus : " This is said 
by some writers to be," &c. 

I had not the slightest intention of giving that as a fact, or as 
my own opinion, knowing otherwise. 

Flies tied on eyed hooks with cocked or upright wings, in 
imitation of the natural fly when floating down a stream, are 
coming into use more and more, and apparently will supersede 
those tied on gut, and with flat wings. 


A century ago it was not possible to get forecasts of the weather 
from the daily papers, and the death of Admiral Fitzroy in middle 
life, and in the midst of his scientific discoveries, was a great blow 
to the advancement of this branch of science. But with greater 
facilities for conveying intelligence round the whole globe, it could 
not but happen that more accurate information of air currents 


should be sent forward to the countries likely to be affected by 

The following is from the " Art of Angling," published in 
1810 : " It is the best fishing in a river somewhat disturbed by 
rain, or on a cloudy day when the waters are moved with a gentle 
breeze ; the south and west winds are the best, and if the wind 
blows high, yet not so but that you may conveniently guide your 
tackle, then fishes will rise in the still deeps ; but if there is little 
wind stirring, the best angling is in swift streams. 

" In casting your line, do it always before you, and in such a 
manner that the fly may fall first on the water. When you throw 
your line, wave the rod in a small circumference round your head, 
and never make a return of it before the line has had its full scope, 
or the fly will snap off. 

" Although when you angle the day is cloudy and windy, and 
the water thick, you must keep the fly in continual motion, 
otherwise the fishes will discern the deceit. 

"'.... Upon the curling surface let it glide 
With nat'ral motion from your hand suppli'd ; 
Against the stream now let it gently play, 
Now in the rapid eddy float away.' 

"When fishes rise at the fly very often, and yet never take 
it, you may conclude that it is not what they like, therefore 
change it for the one they do." 


". . . . Should you lure 

From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots 
Of pendent trees, the monarch of the brook, 
Behoves you then to ply your finest art ; 
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly, 
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft 
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear : 
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun 
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death 


With sullen plunge : at once he darts along, 
Deep struck, and runs out all the lengthen'd line, 
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed, 
The cavern'd bank, his own secure abode ; 
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool, 
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand, 
That feels him still, yet to his furious course 
Gives way, you, now retiring, following now 
Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage, 
Till floating broad upon his breathless side, 
And to his fate abandon'd, to the shore 
You gaily drag your unresisting prize." 


There are several kinds of casts to be used, for the ordinary 
casts will be of little avail under some circumstances. To 
make the ordinary cast, begin with a short line, and by the action 
of the wrist and forearm propel it out in front of you, so that 
when it is extended to the full length, the fly will be two or three 
feet above the surface, on which it should fall by its own weight. 
In repeating the cast raise the point of the rod slowly, and 
bring it back over your right shoulder, so that the line shall 
describe the shape of a horse-shoe behind you ; then throw it 
forward again in the same manner as before ; keep casting in 
this way until you can throw a tolerable length, say, twelve 
or fourteen yards, always striving more for accuracy and delicacy 
than length. 

Sometimes a fish may be seen rising which is out of reach 
of the ordinary cast. In such case it 'will be necessary to 
adopt what is called the augmented cast. 

Throw out as much line as you can in the ordinary way, 
then with the forefinger of the right-hand press the line 
against the rod, draw two or three yards off the reel with the 
left hand ; bring back the line and throw it forward again, 
and just before it reaches its fullest extent remove your finger, 


and the impetus of the line will carry out the two or three 
yards taken off the reel. 

The spey throw is used for a similar purpose. If you 
are fishing a large river or lake with a strong wind behind 
you, when the line is extended to its utmost limit by the 
ordinary cast, whisk the fly off the water by an upward and 
backward movement of the hand ; but deliver it forward again, 
just as the last of the reel line is leaving the surface, by a 
rapid downward cut with the upper portion of the rod. It is 
possible in this way to get out four or five yards more line 
than by the ordinary cast. 

When trees or bushes overhang the water the side cast is 
sometimes useful. Let out a short line, and wave the rod 
from side to side horizontally, until the line follows the motion 
of the rod, then pull a yard or two off the reel and swish it 
on to the water. The best way to get it off again is to reel 

It will occasionally happen that when trees are overhanging 
there is not room on either side to use the side cast. The 
underhand cast here comes in. 

Take the fly between the finger and thumb of the left hand, 
and by giving the rod a forward and upward motion, drop 
the fly on to the water in front of you. 

When high bushes stand between you and the river the 
steeple cast is handy. By the action of the rod work the line 
up perpendicularly above your head, then pitch it down over 
the bushes on to the water. 

These special casts are only used in special circumstances 
requiring them, but they are often instrumental in producing 
big fish from otherwise inaccessible spots, and it is in such 
spots that the big fish' generally lie. 


In conclusion, I would recommend all anglers, whether living 
in London or the provinces, to join a good club : they there 


meet kindred spirits, and form friendships and connections, 
that make life pleasant. 

Many of these clubs rent waters for the use of their mem- 
bers, which would not be within the reach of individuals. 

Scientific papers on the art are occasionally read, and dis- 
cussions based on them; lectures and smoking concerts are 
often added to the programme ; some of them possess extensive 
circulating libraries accessible to their members only, while 
most of their rooms are hung with specimen fish, portraits of 
prominent anglers, aquatic birds, flies, &c. In winter evenings, 
when angling is out of the question, the interest in the sport 
is thus kept up, and plans for the coming season formed, tackle 
compared, and various other matters arranged. 

Most of the London clubs admit country members at a 
lower rate of subscription than ordinary members, and thus 
benefits accrue on both sides. Country members, when in 
town, can obtain all the advantages enumerated, and they have 
occasionally the opportunity of procuring the town member 
a day's fishing " far from the madding crowd." 









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Contribution to a controversy re Lines, in the Fishing Gazette, March 27th, 1886 

See also recommendations of the ACME in Land and Water, August 28th. 1888 ; 
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The Best Killing Flies are the new Skin Winged "HITTERS." 

Patent applied for. Price 3/- per dozen, 

They are fifty per cent, nearer nature than the old style artificials. " Two of the 
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flies." The Rev. A. R. FBANCIS, M.A., in the Fishing Gazette, September 15th, 1888. 

For New and Refined Improvements in Tackle, see 



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cal Fly - Fisher and 
Fly Maker, begs to 

inform Anglers that he is now prepared to execute orders 
Hampshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and all other Streams, 
at the following prices for cash : Hackle Flies, Is. 9d. per 
dozen ; Single-winged Flies, 2s. per dozen ; Double-winged 
Floaters, 2s. 6d. per dozen ; Ibis, Macaw, and Indian Crow 
Tags, 2s. 6d. per dozen. Bumbles, ditto, on gut, or Eyed 
AND AFTER TYING. G. H. is agent for the Cele- 
brated English Split -Cane Fly Rods, made by Messrs. 
Hardy Brothers, and has Special Pal terns for Dry-Fly 
Fishing, as used by 

Homo of the VI V A M HlVWVfl best Hamp- 
shire Ang- If I I A ' I 1 I |i| I* lcrs ' A ent 
for Messrs. ill A S ' Allcock 

and Co.'s * BW| "S. Celebrated 
"Standard" Angling 

Requisites. Holland's Cobweb Gut sold in three- yard 
Tapered Casts, or in Hanks. This Gut is of the 
best quality obtainable, and carefully selected. Flies 
made to order, and from the patterns given in Mr. 
Halford's " Floating Flies and How to Dress Them." 
G. H., having personal and practical knowledge of Fly- 
Fishing both in North and South Country Streams, 
is able to advise his Customers as to the Best Killers 
for different seasons and localities. By Special Appoint- 
ment Sole Agent in this neighbourhood for Messrs. S. 

Being a Specialist for Trout and 
Grayling Requisites, gentlemen may 
rely on getting just what they want. 


I am very much pleased with the flies. They are 
splendidly tied and are just what I wanted. 


G. Holland is one of the most excellent professional fly 
tiers in the three kingdoms, and has carried the depart- 
ment of Floating Fly- tying to special excellence. 


I never saw anything more life-like or perfect. 


As a fly fisher of more than fifty years, I have had very 
extensive experience of Fly Dressing, and it is fairly due to 
you to state that I have never met with flies better or 
more artistically tied than yours, and I never miss an 
opportunity of recommending your flies. 

H. B. FBANCIS, ESQ. Badminton Library. 


"Examined by the miscroscope the gut is much rounder 
and more perfect in structure than any I have seen, also 
smaller in diameter ; some of the lengths are 3-1 ,000ths of 
an inch only. Its transparency is also very great, and there 
are seen no fibres along the length, which is so common 
with the ordinary drawn gut. Please send two more hanks." 

J. HAWKSLB.Y, ESQ., London. 

Dear Sir, I promised to let you know how those small 
eyed snecks did among heavy fish. I am glad to find them 
exceeding good ; so far I have had no accidents with them, 
and I had some very heavy fish. Amongst others, I have 
killed during the last four days six grayling weighing 151b., 
the heaviest brace going a trifle over 5-lb. All these fish 
have been killed on your cobweb gut, which is the best I 
ever had a perfect marvel of strength and fineness com- 
bined. Most of my fish have succumbed to the tiny Orange 
Tags I had from you a fortnight ago, though the largest fish, 
a three-pounder, came homo on a light Olive. The Orange 
Tag is, however, about the best grayling fly it is possible to 
use on a sunny day, and it will, in bright weather, frequently 
do execution with trout. I hooked three good fish with it 
in lees than ten minutes one day last week. 

Yours very truly, H. S. HALL. 



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